US-based photo service Cooliris has announced a partnership with Baidu, tapping on the distribution channel that the Chinese search giant offers as it seeks deeper integration with the Chinese market.

Users can now view the photos they have stored on Baidu’s personal cloud storage service via the Cooliris iPhone and iPad app. However, currently they will not be able to save photos from other sources supported by Cooliris (such as Tencent Weibo and Renren) to Baidu’s cloud service yet — though Derek Tan, Cooliris’ head of business development for Asia-Pacific tells TNW that this next step will be coming soon in a few weeks.

The partnership will also not just stop at Baidu’s cloud service. Tan says Cooliris is looking at including images from Baidu’s search engine, in the same way that it does with Google in Western markets.

The service’s latest move comes after its earlier partnerships with Tencent-owned microblogging site Weibo and social networking site Renren. Tan explains:

A lot of people say: work with a partner, be it work with a partner to set up an office or work with a partner to do something. So why don’t I work with a partner to gain distribution?

With its latest partnership, Cooliris hopes to tap further on the distribution channels that Baidu can offer, especially after it recently bought app store 91 Wireless. Tan says: “For us it’s the inroad into China. Baidu just acquired 91 [Wireless], and 91 is a great platform for distribution.”

There are no specific numbers for how Cooliris is doing in China, but Tan notes that China is its number-one growing market in terms of downloads. The service’s largest market is still the US, but Asia as a whole already accounts for 30 percent of all its downloads. Japan is currently its largest market in Asia, but Tan hopes that with the Baidu (and 91 Wireless) partnership, China can catch up.

On the other hand, partnering with Cooliris also has its benefits for Baidu. Tan says: “Given our strong userbase in the US and increasingly in Southeast Asia, we’re helping bring the Baidu brand outwards.”

Cooliris has also become the first international developer to make use of Baidu MyCloud’s complete suite of APIs. Tan says that using the full suite of APIs “gives us a lot more access in the flexibility of allowing users to see folder structures and create folder structures as well.”

Tan also reveals that by Q4 2013, Cooliris will be coming up with its long-awaited Android app, and the service will go freemium by the end of this year too.

➤ Cooliris | iOS

Headline image via Thinkstock

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